The EB-5 visa, also known as the Employment-Based Fifth Preference Visa, falls under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This program allows eligible immigrants to settle in the United States by investing in a U.S. business.
The program was established in 1990 by the Immigration Act of 1990 to boost the U.S. economy. Approximately 10,000 EB-5 visas are issued each fiscal year. The visa secures conditional residency for applicants and their family members who qualify for the program. Investments are made in projects known as New Commercial Enterprises (NCE) in the real estate industry or a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). The project aims to create more jobs.
Under the program, investors, their spouses, and unmarried children under 21 qualify for the EB-5 investment visa should they make the necessary investment in a targeted employment area.
The average processing time for the EB-5 visa is approximately six months. Generally, the initial application and petition are approved within 60 days. This is followed by an interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State.
What is a Targeted Employment Area
A Targeted Employment Area is a term used to classify various regions in the United States characterized by high unemployment. There are two types of TEA's; rural areas and high unemployment areas. These areas benefit greatly from foreign investment, which creates jobs and ensures economic growth.
What is a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE)
A new commercial enterprise, or NCE, is used to identify the LLC, company, or partnership in which a potential EB-5 investor will invest. A new commercial enterprise typically operates in a targeted area. For example, targeted employment areas are in census tracts directly adjacent to the census tract where an NCE does business.
How do I qualify for the EB-5 investment visa
To qualify for the EB-5 investment visa, a prospective investor will need to meet specific qualifying criteria:
- A capital investment of $900,000 in a TEA -designated area (or)
- A capital investment of $1.8 million in a common investment project area (not TEA).
- The Department must approve designated investment centers of Homeland Security (DHS).
- The investor must be able to demonstrate the legitimate source of the capital investment.
- The investment must create ten full-time jobs in the U.S. within two years of approval of provisional residency.
- Direct investments require active management by the investor.
- Direct investment may only count direct jobs created.
- Regional center investments require only passive management by the investor.
- Regional center investments may count indirect, natural, and induced jobs.
How long does the EB-5 visa last
The status of the EB-5 visa is valid for a probationary period of two years. After this period, if all the requirements for the EB-5 access are met, the investor may apply to become an unconditional permanent resident. The investor can have the conditions of the permanent residency removed after an I-829 application is filed, adjudicated, and approved.
Does the EB-5 visa lead to citizenship
The EB-5 is not a visa for citizenship by investment. Instead, applicants obtain a green card through the EB-5 investment visa. EB-5 visa holders (green card holders) may apply for citizenship after five years of permanent residence to qualify for or apply for permanent citizenship in the United States.